November 4, 2014

BIG RED AMBITION | The 10 Most Satisfying Things Every Cornellian Should Do

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By CAITLAN SUSSMAN

We’ve all heard of the list of “161 Things Every Cornellian Should Do,” a.k.a. the “Big Red Ambition.” Many of the items on this list are difficult to accomplish, some are illegal, and all are conversation starters. But which are the most satisfying to complete? The following items have been determined by popular poll:

10. Turn your face blue from screaming at midnight before the first finals

Why?

With our workload, everyone feels the need to scream on a regular basis. The difference is, on first finals night it’s entirely permissible and even socially acceptable.

Seasonal?

No, finals are endless

Best accomplished:

On Ho Plaza, with a group of other tormented students.

9. Explore the secret underground tunnel between Uris and Olin Libraries

Why?

It’s almost certainly illegal, and there’s something thrilling about secret tunnels. Most people don’t know it exists anyway, so finding it is part of the adventure.

Seasonal?

No — Uris and Olin are open all year ‘round

Best accomplished:

With your favorite partner in crime

8. Finally meet the dazzling Denice Cassaro

Why?

You haven’t lived until you’ve seen for yourself the face of Community Events: the woman, the myth, the legend.

Seasonal?

No, she can always be found in her office in Willard Straight.

Best accomplished:

When you need to have your event published in her weekly emails

7. Climb all 161 steps to the top of McGraw Tower

Why?

The opportunity to catch an amazing view of the entire campus and the city of Ithaca. You can even request your favorite Disney song from the Chimesmasters.

Seasonal?

No, the view is equally beautiful in every season.

Best accomplished:

During a chimes concert, the only time McGraw tower is open to the public.

6. Sit in Libe Café when you have no work to do and watch the worried studiers down gallons of coffee.

Why?

Sometimes we all like to gloat. And at Cornell, freedom from schoolwork is almost impossible to come by so we might as well enjoy it.

Seasonal?

No, frantic studiers can be found in Libe at all times of the year.

Best accomplished:

With Netflix on your laptop, and a cup of coffee. (It’s even more satisfying when you’re drinking coffee just because you can, and not to help you pull an all-nighter).

5. Throw a flaming pumpkin into the gorge

Why?

Because who doesn’t want to set a pumpkin on fire and watch it fall like a beacon of light into the darkness at the bottom of a gorge?

Seasonal?

Yes, at Halloween for the spookiest effect.

Best accomplished:

Late at night on Halloweekend at the Stewart Avenue Bridge, with a large group of friends to see who can throw their pumpkin the farthest.

4. Streak across the Arts Quad

Why?

Why not? You’ll probably never get a chance to streak again without risking arrest (if you don’t get JA’d this time). Besides, it’s college—go for it!

Seasonal?

Yes, preferably done during Ithaca’s two months of warm weather in the summer, although some brave souls may choose otherwise—in which case I salute you!

Best accomplished:

With friends or a willing partner late at night (2 a.m. is perfect) and in warm weather

3. Enjoy Ithaca’s two months of warm weather — spend a summer here!

Why?

Because of the opportunity to complete many more of the 161 things (aka streaking) while exploring Ithaca without any of the stress of classes. Or, for the academically inclined, take a course or two. It’s much more relaxed and class sizes are smaller (read: my one-person Stats class this past summer). Plus, it’s WARM.

Seasonal?

Yes, of course — it’s the summer!

Best accomplished:

By spending the summer in a fraternity house—the rooms are cheap and the company is glorious.

2. Eat a Pinesburger

Why?

Glenwood Pines Restaurant, located on Taughannock Boulevard in Ithaca and overlooking Cayuga lake, is one of the most scenic places you will ever eat a burger. Their famous “Pinesburgers,” served on an enormous slab of bread, are to die for. And don’t worry, there’s a vegetarian option! Even more satisfying? Watch a friend eat four of them to complete the “Pinesburger Challenge” or take on the challenge yourself (Warning: this is not for the faint of heart). One of the more out of the way items on the list, but also one of the most satisfying when completed.

Seasonal?

No, although if you want to get the best view over the lake, I would suggest going in the summer

Best accomplished:

With a gluttonous friend or large group — preferably not immediately before a job interview, date, or intense physical activity. Participants completing the “Pinesburger Challenge” may need a full day to recover.

1. Have a midnight picnic at the Cornell Plantations

Why?

By far the most satisfying item on the list. It’s daring, adventurous and, with the right person, can be incredibly romantic. Make it as fancy or as casual as you want: buy a bottle of wine, some strawberries and fine cheese for a classy evening with your partner, or bring along some Cheetos, Sprite, and a pack of Oreos for a fun night with your friends.

Seasonal?

No — just dress warmly and bring along a blanket or onesie to wrap around you when it gets cold

Best accomplished:

With your significant other or a group of friends at midnight. Make sure to bring a flashlight or candles for maximum effect. Enjoy!

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